Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A map of Betrayal, by Ha Jin

When Gary Shang's daughter, Lillian, started going through her parents belongings after their deaths she was surprised to find a diary of her father and to learn that he had secrets that she never knew about.

The discovery lead to learning that Gary Shang was the highest ranking Chinese Spy to ever infiltrate the American Government, specifically the CIA. When he was discovered it created a massive problem for the American Government and the Chinese Government had to distance itself from Gary.

Born in China, Gary was recruited by the Communist Chinese to go to work for an American Agency in China at the time and provide them translation services. As his position grew with the American's and they grew to trust him the Chinese asked Gary to leave China, abandon his family and live an American life and never return to China. But they still wanted him to provide secrets to them that he uncovered through his work.

According to the Chinese handler's that Lillian could contact after her fathers death she determined that they saw her father as a hero of the homeland and that they held him in highest esteem.

But what about his Chinese family? Lillian learned that her father had a wife and family in China that he had not seen in years. She learned that her mother and her life in America as Gary's family was just a cover for him in regards to his work of spying.

Lillian goes to great lengths to try and find Gary's first family. She does her best to uncover the true story of Gary's life and what all transpired.

Her work brings about this book and she documents not only her search for her Chinese half-siblings but her research gives us a very detailed account of Gary's life from 1949 in China to his death in America decades later.

The story is riveting and fascinating. You will feel her anguish and pain as well as her triumph in finding family in China that she has never met or known about prior to her digging into the life of her father.

This story is one that will bring you to understand just how spies find their ways into other governments and the lengths they will go to for getting the information that their handlers desire.


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